Ask the experts: How to manage remote teams

Remote work has become common place for many in the workforce. With this change, comes the need to adjust how managers lead a team they no longer have a physical presence with. We reached out our LinkedIn community to get some advice from remote managers who have been working remotely long before the pandemic. Read below to see what they had to say.

"I managed a remote team of 2 people for two years. My top piece of advice is to spend plenty of time talking about things outside of work. Without the chance to have run-ins at your desks and chit chat in the office kitchen, you need to make intentional time for that chit chat online. Build the relationship on purpose because there won't be opportunities otherwise." - Taylor Howard, Department Manager, Sales & Operations at H&M

"I've worked and led teams remotely for about 15 years. #1: Out of sight should NOT mean out of mind! Remote work requires discipline and organization. Strong relationships, trust and effective teamwork demand effort. The interaction must continue. Collaboration is critical. Interact regularly with your team members - local, remote workers and road warriors... and smile :)" - Germain St- Denis, Strategy Consultant at The Oasis Group

"Remote leadership has been at the centre of my career with Randstad Inhouse Services as our team is spread across the country. The key to engagement is simple; communication and trust. Make your vision as a leader clear and ensure your goals, purpose and values are both articulated regularly and demonstrated in your actions and decisions. Surround yourself with people who share that passion, understand that purpose, and trust them to embody it daily from afar. Empower them to lead, support them if they fall, and have compassion and understanding particularly in uncertain times like these." Ashley Gamble, National Vice President at Randstad Inhouse Services

"It's a simple one, but very effective - use webcams for virtual team meetings and one to ones. Being able to see facial expressions is key." - Melanie Abrahams, Learning and Development Lead at S.I. Systems

“Regular check-ins, open communication, enablement tools, transparency and creating a psychologically safe environment (even if virtual).” - Gillian Fischer, Director, Transformation & Strategic Major Accounts at MindBridge Ai

“Communication is the key, only to make sure that the employees are heard and their problems are addressed.” - Leyah Alexander, HR Generalist at Tata Elxsi

“Check-ins are key- and we start with “how are you doing”? It’s so easy to just jump into the work- but people are juggling way more than the usual work issues.” - Barb Roadhouse Bresnahan, President at Roadhouse Bresnahan Consulting

“Focus on the ABC’s: Accountability: be accountable to your teams, but expect reciprocity. Build trust across the board. Communicate: in fact, over-communicate. Synchronous communication mechanisms are better (chat, phone) than asynchronous communication (email).” - Charath Ram Ranganathan, VP of Engineering at Crowdbotics

“Bias for communication. A lot gets lost when you can't just walk up and talk for 10 minutes. Sometimes it will feel like oversharing, but it's always good that everyone is on the same page.” - Jeremy Horowitz, Founder at Erebral

“Self-discipline, (over)communication, and the right tech!” - Andy Bush, Founder/President at Bush Marketing

As you can see, most managers agree that consistent communication is key to maintaining accountability and productivity across remote teams. What advice do you have for newly remote managers? 

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